I want to tell you about some chicken meatballs. They were Gourmet Meatballs, for one thing; the package assured you of that. They had a picture of the chef on the front, and the back or inside probably had a little story about him, how he started out in a small cafe in Philly and worked his way u to living his dream, which was sharing his passion for food. They always have a passion for food. So do I. It’s called hunger. It comes and it goes.

But some people are more excited about food, and that’s fine. They appreciate that the meatballs have not been sullied by gluten or GMOs, and they use only the finest salt, or something.

I cooked them to the exact specs, and added a nice sauce and some pasta. It was like eating very tender golf balls. They put up a bit of a fight when you tried to bite them, and the flavor - well, it was okay. But there was something lacking in these meatballs, and that something was meat.

They had the ball part down pat, though.

Since I made a batch of them, I had them for leftovers. And so it came to pass that I stood there at the office microwave, heating and reheating the container until everything was warm, so I could have these chicken balls I did not want on a fargin’ Tuesday in January when the sun was not shining and we had an hour-long meeting coming up about which boxes to uncheck in the publishing system so outbound links don’t take you off our site.

That was noon. It got better. After the meeting, anyway.







The Covington story is one of the more insignificant and significant stories of the month - not for what happened, but for what it revealed about the people who reacted to it. You can read about the ins and outs of the story elsewhere. I'm interested in the people who wanted to punch children.

I do not understand jumping on Twitter and wishing death on the kids. And also their parents. It’s one thing for some chud with four followers (one of whom would probably be Anthony Scaramooch, he follows everyone, and perhaps is the one common denominator who can bring the nation together with the perfectly timed tweet that oils the roiling water) to blurt out something ghastly and cruel, but if you’re a writer for Vulture and you type your desire for the parents of the children to die, something has gone awry in your heart.


This guy got fired for tweeting:

"I don’t know what it says about me but I’ve truly lost the ability to articulate the hysterical rage, nausea, and heartache this makes me feel. I just want these people to die. Simple as that. Every single one of them. And their parents."


And their little dog, too, perhaps. The "Rest in Peace" is above the Toys R Us logo, with the words "Toys R Dead." Which is absolutely a thing a grown-up wears.

He did go on:

“‘Racism is in its Boomer death throes. It will die out with this younger generation!’ Look at the shit-eating grins on all those young white slugs’ faces. Just perverse pleasure at wielding a false dominion they’ve been taught their whole life was their divine right. Fucking die.”

I'm sure it was meant performatively.

"I don't know what it says about me" - well, there's the problem. He ought to. I suspect he was trying to imply something we would find admirable: he's so exquisitely sensitive to the horrors of the day he can't hold back the screaming and urge to vomit. In short, he can't even. Now, lots of people can't even. They've been unable to even for a long time. But his inability to even is so profound he's obviously a more wounded soul, and hence a better person, than those whose callussed hearts allow them to stagger through this hellscape, and permit them to even.

Here’s the thing: I would bet that the lives of those beset by hysterical rage and nausea are fundamentally indistinguishable from 2015. There are no Brownshirts at the coffee shop sneering and pushing old Jews around, or masses of identically dressed guys walking through New York beneath banners to the cheers of the crowd, or chats from the boss about the need to sign a loyalty paper, or worried conversations with friends who are leaving the country, or any of that.

It’s all pretty much the same, except for all the Nazis who are about to happen any minute now.

I think the worst thing you can say to some people these days is “I don’t think we really have a serious Nazi problem. I mean, we have a historical standard of a Serious Nazi Problem, and this doesn't rise to previous Nazi quantities.”

HOW DARE YOU. A, this means you’re not paying attention. B, don’t you see how Trump is enabling Nazis. C., Everyone I know is worried about Nazis.

Well. A) I am paying attention, and note who in Congress is particularly spun up about the Jews, and who in the various intersectional movements is keen to wave away Louis Farrakhan; B) uh huh those Illinois Nazis love them some Jerusalem embassy action, and C) there’s your problem. I'm sure everyone everyone you know is worried about violent ideology-enforcing mobs, and wishes Antifa would put on the masks and go beat them with bike locks. It's possible you regard America as a cruel prole expanse writhing with hatred, with only the blessed parentheses of the coastal cities to keep the guttering flame of civilization alight.

So you see a tweet about how some kids surrounded and taunted a Tribal Elder, and the main kid is punchable, and it’s a natural leap: KILL THEM, AND KILL THEIR PARENTS.

Perhaps your fingers paused on that last part - isn’t it enough to kill the children? But no. They are the poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree, and the parents - who, after all, sent them to a Catholic school - are partly, no mostly, responsible. They should die too.

After all, you can probably convince yourself the parents are fascists too:


Wonderful logic, this. I can infer from this picture all I need to know, and have determined that the youth should be beaten.


So yes. People are jackwipes on Twitter; big news. But this guy is a Disney producer.

He apologized:

Film producer Jack Morrissey apologized Monday for joking about “MAGA kids” going “screaming, hats first into the woodchipper.” The tweet was accompanied by an iconic image from “Fargo” in which a dead person’s blood flies from a woodchipper.

“It was something that I did not give any thought to,” Morrissey told TheWrap. “It was just a fast, profoundly stupid tweet. … I would throw my phone into the ocean before doing that again.”

His apology:

“Yesterday I tweeted an image based on FARGO that was meant to be satirical — as always — but I see now that it was in bad taste,” Morrisey wrote. “I offended many people — My sincerest apologies. I would never sincerely suggest violence against others,especailly kids. Lesson learned.”

Okay. I have gotten into disputes here and there about whether apologies are properly worded, and I'm not inclined to parse every word to see whether it's enough, because there will always be people for whom it's never enough, and I don't want to make them the ultimate arbiter of temporal redemption.

Also: before we get too prim, putting out a picture of people fed to a woodchopper for a social drime is permissible if you're in high school, and you're joking. I mean, tweet that picture with the caption:

That's fine. Are we pretending it's not? Do we actually think the guy wants to kill his classmate?

Anyway. Trump has made everyone rip off their shirts and show the tattoo over their hearts. It’s quite astonishing. But it’s revelatory, and it’s clarifying.

We're learning lots, but no one's learning from each other.




The end of the first month of 1949. Here's the front page. There’s some cheerful news!


Really - don’t worry, we’re not going to get lapped by the Reds, even if they do come up with a bomb.


  We’re ramping up! We're really rollin'.


If you thought the cheerful news was Canada’s oil rush, it wasn’t the first:

In early 1914, oil fever swept Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta. Investors lined up outside makeshift brokerage houses to get in on exploration activity triggered by the May 14, 1914 discovery of wet gas and oil at Turner Valley, southwest of Calgary. Reportedly, in one 24-hour period, investors and promoters formed more than 500 "oil companies.” Incorporated a year earlier, the Calgary Stock Exchange was unable to control some of the unscrupulous practices that relieved many Albertans of their savings.

The very good 1949 story was preceded by a very bad 1948. A well blew out.

In one journalist's words,"The well had barely punched into the main producing reservoir a mile below the surface when a mighty surge of pressure shot the drilling mud up through the pipe and 150 feet into the air. As the ground shook and a high-pitched roar issued from the well, the mud was followed by a great, dirty plume of oil and gas that splattered the snow-covered ground. Drillers pumped several tons of drilling mud down the hole, and after thirty-eight hours the wild flow was sealed off, but not for long.

Some 2,800 feet below the surface, the drill pipe had broken off, and through this break the pressure of the reservoir forced oil and gas into shallower formations. As the pressure built up, the oil and gas were forced to the surface through crevices and cracks. Geysers of mud, oil, and gas spouted out of the ground in hundreds of craters over a 10-acre area around the well."

Atlantic #3 eventually caught fire, and the crew worked frantically for 59 hours to snuff out the blaze.

It took six months, two relief wells and the injection of 160,000 cubic metres of river water to bring the well under control, an achievement which the crews celebrated on September 9, 1948.

Justly so, you'd have to say.

KSTP: smooth is the word for it.

Barry Wood sang "Arms for the Love of America,” and I’ll forever be grateful. Wikipedia:

According to music critic Will Friedwald, Wood had "an interesting voice, gray and appropriately woody", and a "sort of robust charm", but "his super-stiff rhythm makes him tough to listen to today.”

The Melody Maids:

Melody Maids were an all-girl singing group from Beaumont, Texas that toured the world from 1942 to 1972. Dick Dowling Junior High School music teacher Eloise Rush Milam was asked to help arrange entertainment for a bond rally at the Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont. Milam also gave private voice lessons to junior high and high school-aged girls, so she presented her students as a choral group, all dressed in white. Since the newspaper insisted on having a name for the group, they decided to call themselves the Melody Maids. This first performance was on July 4, 1942.

As for the building, I worked for KSTP - but I was always out at the Maplewood transmitter facility, where AM was relocated. The STP stands for St. Paul.

The building today:

And the address says Minneapolis? It’s complicated.

KSTP-TV's studios and offices are located at 3415 University Avenue, precisely on the Minneapolis–St. Paul boundary. The sidewalk in the adjacent photo of the building is on the city line. The principal production facilities, including the news studio, are on the Minneapolis side of the building. However, the station has a St. Paul mailing address because its business and advertising offices are on the St. Paul side.

The large tripod transmitting tower behind the station has one leg in each city, with the third leg precisely on the city line.

That's a fine way to claim allegiance to everyone.

We’ll get to Bob in a moment. Some movie ads:

It’s about a war orphan whose hair turns green because reasons. The boy was Dean Stockwell. It lost a mint.

Wonder why.

Sixty years on:

The 2009 film Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, which also starred (the adult) Dean Stockwell, made extensive reference to The Boy with Green Hair. Director Edward James Olmos, a fan of Stockwell's earlier film, had a replica of Peter's costume created for a war orphan character in The Plan named John.

Olmos stated that he wanted John to have green hair, but the studio refused to allow it.






Bob "Anything for a dollar" Hope was in town for a promotional appearance:

Lee Jaensen, Aquatennial Queen. Yes, a photograph survives.


Here I want to note something else:

The handwriting in the ads for Hope and the fluffy towels is the same. The handwriting in the Daytons ads were always the same, for decades, and I’ve never been able to find out who it was. It’s quite a distinctive hand. I’ve even found a font named MINNEAPOLIS that seems to be based on it.

Someone knows who it was. If I’m lucky some day the word will get out I’m looking (I’ve written about this before, I’m sure) and the daughter will call me up.


That'll do; enjoy the update, and I'll see you around.



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